Friday, March 20, 2009

The Christian Post "Keeping The Faith" Blog

Recently, I've had the privilege to contribute to a brand-new "Keeping The Faith" blog on The Christian Post's website. Here are links to some of the articles featured over the last couple weeks:

Trust by Nancie Carmichael

When God has us in a hard place... by Rich Rollins





Losing Everything by David Sanford

Monday, March 16, 2009

Coming Evangelical Collapse?

The most viewed and arguably the most controversial article published in The Christian Science Monitor this past week? An analysis of the massive economic tsumani waves hitting everyone, everywhere around the world? No. Instead, it's a deeply troubling "must read" article by Michael Spencer that begins by saying:

We are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West.

Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the "Protestant" 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century. 

This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good.

         You can read the rest of this “must read” article here. What do you think?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

"...I will finish strong."

One of the greatest temptations you and I will ever face in this life is to spiritually drift away from the Lord. No one is immune—no matter how long and faithfully they have walked with the Lord.

The late Dr. Joe Aldrich, former president of Multnomah Bible College, is one of several godly men who have motivated me to stay in the Christian race until the end. I still remember many of the lessons I learned under his mentorship nearly 30 years ago. On Dr. Joe’s desk at his death a few days ago was the following statement: “I surrender my life into the hands of God, knowing He has predestined for me His best. I will count the cost and by God's grace I will pay the price to become the best that I am capable of becoming. I will hold to my course and by the power of the Holy Spirit, I will finish strong.” Powerful words from an amazing man whose ministry and life were cut short by Parkinson’s disease.

Besides Dr. Joe, few men have influenced me more than Dr. John G. Mitchell, founder of what is now Multnomah University. Dr. John F. Walvoord once said Dr. Mitchell reminded him of an aged apostle. Never have I met a man who was more in love with the Savior. On two occasions Dr. Mitchell made a point of reminding me—more than sixty years his junior—that there are only three reasons Christians die. These reasons are true in Scripture, in church history, and in our experience today. Believers die (A) because of the discipline of God, 1 Corinthians 11:29−30; 1 John 5:16, (B) for the glory of God, John 21:18−19, and/or (C) because their work is finished, 2 Timothy 4:6−8. Dr. Mitchell also urged me to make sure, when it comes time to die, that dying is all I have left to do.

Thanks to the influence of Dr. Mitchell, Dr. Joe, and others, I love God’s Word. As a teenager, I started reading it from cover to cover, and before college I had memorized nearly 100 pages of Scripture. I’ve read through the Bible dozens of times. And I’ve discovered that only four chapters don’t talk about sin and temptation. From Genesis 3 to Revelation 20 we find that the biggest temptation is for believers to experientially “lose” our faith. How? We stop doing what the Lord says. Why? We stop believing what God’s Word says.

The startling truth is no one exempt from the temptation to experientially “lose” his or her faith. Not even Dr. Mitchell. Not even Dr. Joe. Thankfully, both did finish well. The question is, how will you and I die? Are we willing to make Dr. Joe’s commitment our own?

Consider it again: “I surrender my life into the hands of God, knowing He has predestined for me His best. I will count the cost and by God's grace I will pay the price to become the best that I am capable of becoming. I will hold to my course and by the power of the Holy Spirit, I will finish strong.”

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Wisdom from Paul

Thanks to the encouragement of my wife, Renée, and good friend Michael Tso, M.D., earlier this decade I became friends with Paul Louis Metzger, Ph.D.

Dr. Paul Metzger serves as Professor of Christian Theology & Theology of Culture and Director of the Institute for the Theology of Culture, New Wine, New Wineskins at Multnomah Biblical Seminary.

The past two years I’ve had the privilege to serve on Multnomah Biblical Seminary’s New Wine advisory council. During our most recent council meeting, Dr. Metzger opened with a half-hour meditation from God’s Word. Some thoughts I jotted down as Paul spoke:

The apostle Paul went for broke because Jesus was willing to be broken for him.

The end of the rope is where God lives.

God gives us this profound opportunity to trust him in the midst of our journey.

God’s character is never jeopardized by his emotions.

Knowing the answers doesn’t eliminate all of our existential angst.

Jesus redeems our story to share in his hour of glory, but he doesn’t do that by giving us all the answers or getting rid of our problems.

Jesus’ good news goes forward when we’re victimized and yet we go forward vs. staying in bitterness.

We are participants of Jesus Christ’s sufferings.

Am I willing to go for broke because Jesus was willing to be broken for me?